SC Refuses to Hear PIL Seeking Abolition of Indian Army’s ‘Sahayak’ System

Supreme Court Law Insider

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: November 01, 2022 at 17:51 IST

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a Public Interest Litigation seeking the abolition of the Indian Army’s “Sahayak” system.

A bench of Chief Justice UU Lalit, Justice Ravindra Bhat, and Justice Bela M Trivedi heard the case.

The term “Sahayak” means “buddy,” and it refers to the pairing of two soldiers during operations and peacetime assignments. This approach ensures that the two look after one another both during and after the war.

It is a colonial system in which fighting men were treated as orderlies, or “Sahayaks” to keep the superiors’ clothes clean.

According to the petitioner, the Sahayak system persisted despite a legislative committee condemning the practise and proposing its abolition.

Furthermore, the petitioner contended that the practise of employing “Sahayaks” was problematic since when the duties were increased by the Jawans, the treatment provided during the “otherwise lawful course of employment” was inequitable.

The bench, however, was sceptical, stating that a “Sahayak” signified a helper, which was a definite post in the Army for whom the responsibilities performed were part of the duties of the designated post.

The bench observed-

“You just read something in the newspaper and file a petition. You file something in 2020 and forget about it. I am sorry this is completely misconceived. There are Sahayaks who are not core army force. Dismiss or withdraw.”

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